Eau Claire Woman Featured in “Tips from Former Smoker” Campaign - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Eau Claire Woman Featured in “Tips from Former Smoker” Campaign

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Amanda Brenden started smoking in 5th grade. By age 12 she was smoking every day.

“Nicotine had a really strong hold on me,” said Brenden.

She smoked through high school and college, and when she became pregnant with her first child she couldn't quit.

“I knew smoking while I was pregnant was dangerous,” said Brenden. “I really didn't think that it was going to happen to me or my baby.”

Amanda's baby was born two months premature and only weighed three pounds.

“It was not the plan I had for my first child to be born in a level III hospital,” said Brenden.

Now, seven years later, her daughter suffers from chronic asthma and allergy problems and has to take multiple medications every day.

“I feel a tremendous amount of guilt,” said Brenden. “I wish I could go back and quit smoking before I was ever pregnant.”

Although Amanda's honesty is unique, her story is not. And right now it is being highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of their relaunch of their “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign.

“My tip to you is speak into the opening so your baby can hear you better,” said Brenden.

While deciding to participate in this campaign was difficult, Amanda hopes that her story will reach other pregnant women before it's too late.

“I want people to know that smoking during pregnancy is dangerous,” said Brenden. “This is a real story. This really happened to me. And it can happen to you. But you can prevent this.”

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